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Better land administration system no solution to agrarian reform says Land Watch Asia campaign

Owing to poor land records, governments in Asia are now  pushing to improve land administration systems, but while welcome, the move is not a solution to agrarian reform problems, Land Watch Asia said.

“Although land administration may facilitate land reform, it is not in itself the solution,” the loose coalition of civil society groups pushing for land reform said in a paper.

“In the same vein, asset legalization does not complete land reform. Rather, needed are support services for land reform beneficiaries, and land to the landless,” the group said in a report titled “The Prolonged Struggle for Land Rights in Asia.”

Land Watch Asia noted that donor agencies are backing states by choosing to fund programs that facilitate land administration including computerizing land registries and recording system.

In 2007, it said that Sri Lanka launched a Land Title Registration Program to provide secure titles to landowners.

The Indian government has also turned its attention to land administration programs, “sidetracking” the agrarian reform effort, the paper said.

In Cambodia, Land Watch Asia said that Land Administration, Management, and Distribution Program was implemented  with the aim of strengthening land tenure security and promote land markets.

“Land reform in Indonesia has been nothing more than asset legalization and limited land redistribution,” it added.

In a separate paper, Land Watch Asia and the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC) said that indeed some countries in Asia do not have manual land records. Because the records are not digitized, these are subject to wear and tear, and therefore unreliable, according to the paper, “Monitoring Land Reforms in Asia: Status Check.” Read the rest of this entry